What are the essential needs of any dog?
(The following is from my Diploma Course in Canine Psychology with the ISCP):
The essential needs of any dog are very simple. A place to sleep that is away from the sun/rain/danger, a place that’s familiar and comfortable to it that it can come “home” to each time, enough food to sustain its survival, companionship, affection, exercise and play. Dogs aren’t fussy about what their home is like, as long as it contains familiar smells and associations; it could be happy with a cardboard box, a crate, dog bed or even a simple blanket on the floor in a corner of the kitchen, or even by its homeless master’s side on a sidewalk. As long as the dog feels secure and not threatened, and as long as there is food in its belly, most dogs are content.
All dogs also need some form of companionship, be it with fellow dogs or with humans. Dogs that have grown up in isolation, having been kept alone tied up in a shed or away from its own kind, often have a hard time acclimatizing to society afterwards. Being exposed to other dogs, humans, all kinds of external stimuli (traffic conditions, vehicles, loud noises, children, construction noises, changing weather conditions, different terrain, fireworks, etc) as a puppy is important, as that is how dogs learn, through experience, multiple exposure and gradual desensitization. So, with this in mind, I would add that good socialisation skills would be almost just as important to a dog’s life, if it is to take its place alongside humans in every activity we do. If all dogs were well socialised from a young age, by responsible owners, and trained in basic skills, there would be far fewer dogs relegated to shelters due to being reactive to other dogs and people, biting incidents, unruly behaviour, resource guarding etc.